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How to Write a Thesis - A Personal Experience. Hugo do Nascimento * School of Information Technologies The University of Sydney * Supported by CAPES and UFG-Brazil. Summary. The Thesis Doing Research Preparation for Writing the Thesis The Writing Process

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how to write a thesis a personal experience

How to Write a Thesis- A Personal Experience

Hugo do Nascimento*

School of Information Technologies

The University of Sydney

*Supported by CAPES and UFG-Brazil

  • The Thesis
  • Doing Research
  • Preparation for Writing the Thesis
  • The Writing Process
  • Tools and Useful Links
the thesis
The Thesis

User Hints for Optimization Processes

Combinatorial Optimization

Human-Computer Interaction

Information Visualization

the thesis4
The Thesis

User Hints for Optimization Processes

the thesis5
The Thesis
  • Contents



      • Introduction
      • Background
      • The User Hints Framework
      • User Hints for Graph Clustering
      • User Hints for Directed Graph Drawing
      • A Focus and Constraint-Based Genetic Algorithm
      • User Hints for Map Labeling
      • General Remarks
      • Conclusion

Appendix A: Optimization Table

Appendix B: Included CD-ROM

Approximate number of words counted by WinEdt

2 pages, 572 words

1, 292

9, 2806

34, 11481

10, 3147

16, 4699

29, 9095

55, 11214

36, 10909

20, 7307

4, 1179

9, 1483

17, 2356

the thesis6
The Thesis
  • Statistics
    • 9 chapters + 2 appendices + 1 ack + 1 abs
      • 40 subsections
    • 85 pictures
    • 21 tables
    • 205 references
    • 63099-66620 words in the printed version (not including words in pictures and tables)
    • 274 pages
    • Writing period: Feb-June
doing research a process

Study the bibliography

Revise the


Write a paper, Give a talk

Do more



Has it been done?





Is it feasible?


Are the results sufficient?




Doing Research(A Process)

Have a proposal

preparation for writing the thesis
Preparation for Writingthe Thesis
  • Organize your references
    • For the file name of every digital paper that you get use the title, authors’ surname, and the year of publication.
    • Also get the bibtex or normal reference of the paper and save it in a file.
    • Organize all printed papers in folders.

An Empirical Study of Constraint Usage in Graphical Applications_Zanden-Venckus_1996.pdf

preparation for writing the thesis9
Preparation for Writingthe Thesis
  • Develop writing skills:
    • Read other thesis
    • Take courses on time management and on scientific writing (The University of Sydney runs classes on these subjects in the Education Building).
preparation for writing the thesis10
Preparation for Writingthe Thesis
  • Visualizethe thesis
    • A content page written at the beginning of the research helps to visualize the thesis. In general, the content page is based on the research methodology.
    • Revise the content page as the research progresses.
    • When you are able to visualize the whole thesis (although there may be some “gaps” to close), then you are ready to write it.
the writing process
The Writing Process
  • Define a schedule with dates for writing every chapter of the thesis (This is important since it will push you to work continuously. It will also allow you to check whether more time is needed to complete the writing).
  • Create (empty) pages for every chapter, section and subsection of the thesis.
  • Insert the papers and slides that you wrote into the thesis.
  • Start by writing your most recent work.
the writing process12
The Writing Process
  • Every time that you have a good idea for a section of the thesis that you are not working on at the moment, then write something quick about it in the appropriate page.
  • If you are tired of writing a particular section, take a short break by writing easier and funnier sections such as the acknowledgement, the dedication page, etc. If you a really tired, then have a rest! But be sure that you write a lot every day!
  • Leave the conclusion, the abstract, and the appendices to the end of the writing (some people also suggest postponing the writing of the introduction; any way, you will have to revise the introduction later).
the writing process13
The Writing Process
  • Leave time for revising the thesis. Ask at least 2 people to revise it. Do your own review afterwards.
  • Print and bind the final version of thesis. This can take up to two days if a hardcover binding is demanded.
  • Take the thesis to the Faculty of Science, with a letter of your supervisor saying that you have completed everything and that the thesis is ready to be evaluated. You will have to sign some forms there.
    • Backup the thesis regularly!
tools and useful links
Tools and Useful Links
  • Software
    • MiKTEX ( - LaTeX for Windows/DOS.
    • Winedt ( - text editor that works with MiKTEX. It needs a license.
    • GIMP ( - Image manipulator software.
    • Microsoft Word – used for writing some papers and for creating diagrams.
    • Adobe Acrobat – used for converting diagrams in Word to PDF. Adobe Acrobat requires a license. There is a educational version for students that is cheaper.
tools and useful links15
Tools and Useful Links
  • Documents
    • Oetiker, “The not so short introduction to LaTeX”, 2001. (
    • Technical writing and research ethics (
    • Advice on Research and Writing (
    • Writing Guidelines for Engineering and Science Students (
  • Links
    • TOPPS BibTeX Templates (
    • Accents in LaTeX (
    • A good page about Latex (
books on how to write a thesis
Books on How to Write a Thesis
  • Gordon B.Davis, Clyde A. Parker. "Writing the Doctoral Dissertation: A Systematic Approach", Barron's Educational Series, 1997.
  • Harry Teitelbaum. “How to Write a Thesis”, Prentice Hall & IBD, 1998.
  • Estelle M. Phillips, Derek S. Pugh. “How to Get a PhD: A Handbook for Students and Their Supervisors”, Open University Press, 2000.
  • Joe Wolfe. “How to Write a PhD Thesis”, UNSW (